In three days, it will be the two year anniversary of my first blog post on Experience: The Blog. Originally intended to be an exploration of experiential marketing strategies, my interest and focus quickly turned to social media and how the growth of the peer-to-peer groundswell creates challenges and opportunities for marketers. It is apt to recall how my blog started as one thing and became another, because change is in the air again. I'd like to reflect on that change, put it into context and invite you to join me as I shift my blog publishing to a new address.
A month ago, news broke that Forrester would be altering its blog policies and analysts would shift their industry-related blogging into a new, common platform on Forrester.com. I posted at the time that I believed aggregating Forrester's thought leadership in one place made sense and that I was eager to continue blogging, sharing news and building my reputation within the new Forrester blog.
The reaction was swift and emotional. Hundreds of tweets and blog posts weighed in on the topic; a few supported the new blogging policies, but most did not. One person tweeted I was "licking the boots of (my) corporate paymasters," and a friend sent heartfelt condolences at the loss of my blog. I ignored the tweet and assured my friend that I was not progressing through any of the stages of grief (unless bemusement was one of those stages.)
Actually, I should say, welcome to the Forrester community. The revamped blogs are one facet of Forrester's investment in social media as the conduit for two-way conversation with clients and non-clients alike.
One obvious change: Browsing around, you can easily access an analyst's individual blog, or the role blog, or the client group's blog, or everyone's Forrester blog. As brilliant as I think my own posts are, my colleagues often have much smarter things to say than I do. Please take advantage of the new way to browse through the conversations happening across Forrester. (But come back here when you're done.)
It's with great pleasure that I introduce our new blogging platform to you! Please let me know your thoughts.
In this first post on the new platform, I'd like to introduce Cliff Condon, the project manager, who likes to share his thoughts on Forrester blogs and the new functionality with you:
Everyone’s welcome here. Forrester analysts use blogs as an input into the research they produce, so having an open, ongoing dialogue with the marketplace is critical. Clients and non-clients can participate – so I encourage you to be part of the conversations on Forrester blogs.
We still have team blogs focused on role professionals. Our role blogs, such as the CIO blog and the Interactive Marketing blog, are a rollup of all the posts from the analysts serving that specific role professional. By following a role team blog, you can participate in all the conversational threads affecting a role.
And now we’ve added analyst blogs as well. If you prefer to engage directly with your favorite analyst, you can. Look on the right-hand rail of the team blog and you’ll see a list of the analyst blogs. Just click on their name to go to their blog. Or type their name into “Search”. An analyst blog is a place for the analyst to get reaction to their ideas and connect with others shaping the marketplace. You’ll find the blogs to be personal in tone and approach.
Forrester has relauched its blog platform to allow you to follow individual analysts and streams of research more easily. Here is what Cliff Condon, our guru of the new platform, has to say about the new platform. Please let me know what content you would like to see from the Marketing Leadership team as we build our individual and group voice on this new and more flexible platform.
Netbooks are one of the hottest consumer product categories in the consumer technology industry at this moment - at least from an industry perspective. And yesterday, after Apple's iPad announcement, consumer electronics analysts immediately started commenting and sharing their views via blogs, and twitter.
But what I've been missing is the consumer view. Let's take a look at how interested consumers are in small computers like netbooks in general, and how this has changed in the past year.
Note: I realize that the industry may not see the iPad as a netbook but both the netbook and the iPad serve the same consumer need: an easy to carry, multifunctional mobile Internet device. So consumers are likely to compare and contrast them in the product purchase consideration cycle.
What we see is that consumers are mostly interested in netbooks as a second or third PC that they could use while on the go, or that they consider giving one to their children. Netbooks serve a distinct purpose, for more insight please see the report 'Netbooks Are The Third PC Form Factor' by my colleague J.P. Gownder.
One of the key themes I saw popping up in 2009 was the need for market researchers to communicate insights instead of information (or even worse: data). I've been at a number of events where this was discussed and I followed multiple discussions in market research groups like for example Next Generation Market Research (NGMR) on LinkedIn. Personally I added to this discussion by publishing a report called The Marketing Of Market Research - Successful Communication Builds Influence.
The general consensus is that market researchers should stay away from elaborating on the research methodology and presenting research results with many data heavy slides and graphics. Instead, they should act more like consultants: produce a presentation that reads like an executive summary (maximum 20 slides or so) and starts with the recommendations. The presentation should show the key insights gained from the project, cover how these results tie back to business objectives, include alternative scenarios and advice on possible next steps.
However, another consensus from the conversations is that not all market researchers are equally well equipped to deliver such a presentation, where they're asked to translate data into insights, come up with action items, and tell a story. Most participants in the discussions agreed with the statement that the majority of market researchers still feels most comfortable when they present research outcomes (aka numbers).
This week, Forrester released the 'new and improved' Social Technographics. Over two years ago we introduced Social Technographics, a way to analyze your market's social technology behavior. In these years we've seen that with the rapid pace of technology adoption, the rungs on the ladder have shown steady growth, with some (like Joiners) growing faster than others (like Creators). In these years we have helped clients understand the social media uptake of their customers with data for 13 countries, and for various segments and brands. But, in the past year we did feel we missed out on something: Twitter.
As you can see from the graphic, we added a new rung, "Conversationalists". Conversationalists reflects two changes. First, it includes people who update their social network status to converse (both in Facebook as twitter). And second, we include only people who update at least weekly, since anything less than this isn't much of a conversation.
Lately, there are so many cool Infographics popping up, with lots of global information. Yesterday I shared a link to an infographic from the World Bank. Today, you'll find a link to a tool from the United Nations Development Programme.
By now, most of you know my love for infographics. A colleague recently pointed me to this great tool of the world bank: The World Bank Data Visualizer.
It has it all: data for 209 different countries, trending, and customizable axes. This is a great tool for everyone who's doing global research and wants to know more about the countries researched, and how they relate to each other.
Recently I was asked by Research Magazine to contribute to an article about market research in 2010. The caveat: I was only allowed ONE word to describe what I saw as the most important change, trend or force affecting market research in 2010.